11 votes

Is SNL worse now that it's ever been?

13 comments

  1. [10]
    Thales
    (edited )
    Link
    I watched this video a few weeks back and found it really interesting as a history of Saturday Night Live (are you on a Drew Gooden binge as well, OP?). Prior to watching, I knew very little about...

    I watched this video a few weeks back and found it really interesting as a history of Saturday Night Live (are you on a Drew Gooden binge as well, OP?). Prior to watching, I knew very little about SNL; I’ve never kept up with the show despite enjoying the work of several comedians whose careers started there (e.g. John Mulaney, Tina Fey, Bill Hader), so it was nice to have some gaps in my knowledge filled in.

    But one thing I was mulling over recently was a moment from Drew Gooden’s other (and much shorter) video on SNL, Is SNL even funny?. As in the video from the OP, Gooden touches on the political nature of many of SNL’s sketches; he also attempts to semi-scientifically evaluate the claim that the show has become “too political” in recent times. (He ends up determining that the show has gone from having roughly 1.5 political sketches per episode to 2 political sketches per episode in recent years).

     

    Anyway, what I was thinking over is the contentious claim he makes at ~11:45 in the video. There he says, “Comedy with an agenda is not comedy, because it’s not meant to make people laugh, it’s meant to make people agree.

    What do people think of that statement? Is comedy with an agenda not truly comedy?

     


    Although I came to a pretty strong conclusion about this claim myself, I’m curious to know what others think :) Also, my apologies to OP if this is too off-topic

    4 votes
    1. nothis
      Link Parent
      I can’t comment on SNL history but the claim that comedy has ever been apolitical is absurd to me. It’s a vessel to say things out loud that are otherwise unspoken in a non-threatening way. Not...

      I can’t comment on SNL history but the claim that comedy has ever been apolitical is absurd to me. It’s a vessel to say things out loud that are otherwise unspoken in a non-threatening way. Not all comedy has to be political but it’s trivially obvious that it’s a perfect genre for political commentary and always has been. I won’t even bother to list examples.

      6 votes
    2. [6]
      corleone
      Link Parent
      I have watched a lot of SNL, including full shows back in the day. Nowadays I only watch it on YouTube. Yes SNL is often hilarious (watch all of these sketches and tell me what you think... Me and...

      I have watched a lot of SNL, including full shows back in the day. Nowadays I only watch it on YouTube. Yes SNL is often hilarious (watch all of these sketches and tell me what you think... Me and my wife laugh out loud every time).

      But SNL is a weekly live show, and when you do something like that lots of skits won't land, that's part of the gamble you take, the bad must exist for the good to be there... The energy of being live comes with its risks. So you can't really compare SNL with pre recorded shows. It's another sport entirely.

      Edit: I mean, you wouldn't shit on a daily 4 hour Twitch stream for not being as consistent as a weekly 10 minutes YouTube video, would you?

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        Thales
        Link Parent
        Sorry corleone, I think I might have poorly worded one of my sentences: Drew Gooden's video is titled "Is SNL even funny?", I've never actually seen an episode. What I'm wondering is what people...

        Sorry corleone, I think I might have poorly worded one of my sentences: Drew Gooden's video is titled "Is SNL even funny?", I've never actually seen an episode. What I'm wondering is what people think of his claim that "Comedy with an agenda is not comedy."

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          corleone
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          That is quite absurd. I don't even wish to make a counter argument... Respectfully, that is a ridiculous premise. Just watch some of John Stewart's The Daily Show or The Colbert Report for some...

          "Comedy with an agenda is not comedy."

          That is quite absurd. I don't even wish to make a counter argument... Respectfully, that is a ridiculous premise. Just watch some of John Stewart's The Daily Show or The Colbert Report for some very engaged comedy...

          Not that SNL is predominantly political... That is not even true. Maybe the political sketches are more shared, but they're definitely in the minority.

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            Thales
            Link Parent
            The existence of the entire political comedy subgenre does poke a rather large hole in Gooden's claim, doesn't it?

            The existence of the entire political comedy subgenre does poke a rather large hole in Gooden's claim, doesn't it?

            5 votes
      2. NoblePath
        Link Parent
        "It's another kind of Flying. Altogether." Sorry, couldn't resist.

        It's another sport entirely.

        "It's another kind of Flying. Altogether."

        Sorry, couldn't resist.

        1 vote
    3. [2]
      Thales
      Link Parent
      To answer my own question, I disagree with Gooden. Claiming that “Comedy with an agenda isn’t comedy,” seems like a pretty self-evident case of the intentional fallacy, where the agenda (i.e....

      To answer my own question, I disagree with Gooden. Claiming that “Comedy with an agenda isn’t comedy,” seems like a pretty self-evident case of the intentional fallacy, where the agenda (i.e. intent) of the comedian really doesn’t matter: what matters is if the audience finds it funny.

      Defining what “comedy” is and isn’t also seems only a little less difficult than trying to define “art.” Really the only metric that matters is if people laugh .

      2 votes
      1. corleone
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        DUDE, this so called "intentional fallacy" is the bane of my existence. In college I was trained to assume nothing, it's not easy to undo our brain's tendency to find/create meaning wherever it...

        DUDE, this so called "intentional fallacy" is the bane of my existence. In college I was trained to assume nothing, it's not easy to undo our brain's tendency to find/create meaning wherever it looks. It was awesome and profoundly revealing, but now I suffer in silence with the crazy assumptions people make about the thoughts and feelings of the authors based on their work (debating is useless...). I barely know the inner world of people I live with, let alone the mind of a random film director...

        2 votes
  2. [2]
    post_below
    Link
    Hah! This reframes his original question for me: Maybe he's not trying to make a point, maybe it's a genuine question because, lacking a sense of humor, he actually can't tell. Not that SNL is...

    Comedy with an agenda is not comedy

    Hah! This reframes his original question for me:

    Is SNL even funny?

    Maybe he's not trying to make a point, maybe it's a genuine question because, lacking a sense of humor, he actually can't tell.

    Not that SNL is always funny, they invented the trope of skits that don't end when they should. And then still don't end. But you can't deny that, for countless people, sometimes it's hilarious.

    4 votes
    1. Thales
      Link Parent
      The funny thing is that Gooden is a fan of the show! He even presents a pretty good analogy for its highs and lows, likening the cast to the roster of a football team, where some seasons are...

      Maybe he's not trying to make a point, maybe it's a genuine question because, lacking a sense of humor, he actually can't tell.

      The funny thing is that Gooden is a fan of the show! He even presents a pretty good analogy for its highs and lows, likening the cast to the roster of a football team, where some seasons are stronger than others, and sometimes (as now) a team of rookies might take some time to gel. (I have no idea if this is accurate for SNL, not being a fan of the show myself, but it sounds apt).

      It's actually part of why I was so surprised by his statement. He found that the number of political sketches each week varied between 1.5-2.0 over the past 45 years, which suggests that he considers 1.5-2.0 sketches each week to not actually be comedy.

      1 vote
  3. pycrust
    Link
    I feel like it is? I used to tape every week's SNL and watch it all the way through, skipping ads and whichever skits/musical acts I wasn't into. Now, I never watch. When a recent skit comes up in...

    I feel like it is? I used to tape every week's SNL and watch it all the way through, skipping ads and whichever skits/musical acts I wasn't into. Now, I never watch. When a recent skit comes up in my Youtube algo, I'll give it a go, but I just never find it all that great.

    2 votes